Making a difference in your community

Making a difference in your community

The compost bin at the SOW Collective in Arleta, Calif., on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Photo by Raquel G. Frohlich.

Composting is a relatively easy way to introduce greater sustainability. Residents of the San Fernando Valley may be interested in composting but may not know how to get started, are not able to make the extra effort to travel to a compost site or have the resources to maintain a bin at home. 

Pierce College could look into partnering with LA Compost to create an official site on campus that is accessible to students and staff as well as the local community. The site could be maintained by a small team of appropriate staff and the volunteer work of students and community members. Another possible option is a compost club formed by students.  

There are two main options for composting on college campuses—vermicomposting and in-vessel composting. 

Vermicomposting, which is accomplished using worms, has a fast turnaround time but processes less waste for the time than other methods, according to Compost HQ. The end result is nutrient-rich soil that can be used for gardening. This process could be set up in an isolated green space on campus, of which there is no shortage. 

In The Pros and Cons of Composting as a Food Waste Solution, by Cecillia Wong, in-vessel composting involves discarding organic waste into a silo, drum or concrete-lined trench. In these vessels, temperature, moisture levels and aeration can be controlled. Collection bins could be placed around busy areas on campus and the larger composting vessels would be in a more isolated area.  

To design a composting plan unique to the campus and its needs, Pierce could approach a professional compostable waste hauler for assistance. 

In 2012, the Fremont Wellness Center and Community Garden opened on the John C. Fremont High School campus. As a partner of LA Compost, they are currently composting more than 500 pounds of food waste per month. 

In 2020, USC began installing compost bins in the lobbies of their residence halls. Students also have the option of requesting compost pails for their dorm rooms. Multi-stream waste bins that allow for composting were also installed in high-traffic areas on campus. 

In California, Senate Bill 1383 came into effect in January 2022, and it requires residents and businesses to follow new regulations on the separation and disposing of organic waste. 

Having a site that is easily accessible at Pierce could encourage more students, faculty and administration to compost if they can simply run that errand when coming to campus for class or work.

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